The Gift Of Singleness

March 8, 2013

You asked me about the “gift of singleness”. In Gen. 2:18 we read, “The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'” So the Lord made a woman from Adam’s rib and brought her to the man. (v. 22) That rib is the symbol of unity and intimacy that is to mark all marriages –the symbol of loyalty / fidelity / faithfulness / commitment. (v. 23-25 // Matt. 19:3-9) Unfortunately though, many hearts are hard and the beautiful relationship which God intends for a husband and wife often goes sour. Moreover, being that many people tolerate their miserable situation, it’s actually worse than the divorce statistics reveal.

Prov. 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” Then why, in 1 Cor. 7, did Paul teach that if a person was single, it’d likely be best to remain so? He said it was because of “the present circumstances” (v. 26), probably that due to the persecution of the church, and that it was because married people face extra troubles. (v. 28,40) So which is it? –Extra blessings or extra troubles?

I believe that God’s will is that most young adults (like you) get married, and this, so that they can learn to love unselfishly as they interact with one another and as they raise godly children, as well as, simply, for the joys it can bring, including those brought by intimacy. In addition, as Ec. 4:9-12 says, two are better than one because work, aid, warmth, and defense are all strengthened.

So if people respond to each other the way God intends for them to, then their Christ-likeness will bring peaceful unity which will bring about God’s blessings. (Ps. 133:1,3) The problem is, is that most people are self-centered and so two often are not better than one. This is because strife does not bring God’s blessings about, and strife often distracts, disorients, and depresses those going through it, as well as being the cause for more sin and despair, which, of course, does not bring about the righteous, confident, faith-filled, joyful, and victorious life God desires for people. In other words, two are better than one as long as neither are being wicked jerks. But how likely is it that even one of the spouses, even while claiming to be a “Christian”, is going to go through his or her entire life without bringing pain to the ones closest to them? So, yes, singleness may be best.

However, do we not have a God who performs wonders? Yes! And knowing that is really the only way we can walk forward in anything, but especially in important things such as career, where we live, and who (and if) we marry. Don’t we believe that God can do the impossible? Then is He not capable, even amid a fallen, evil world where there is so much strife and deceit and cruelty, of having two people meet who can serve Him better together –in marriage– and it be a blessing to them, to the world, and to God Himself? Absolutely yes.

You ask if I think that the gift of singleness is given to a person or if it is something he or she chooses. I believe that, for the person who is keeping “in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25), the choice is both God’s and the believer’s. How could it be anything else? Because the person who is obedient to the Lord and who delights in the Lord, does also delight to walk in His perfect will. (See Ps. 37:4) The Lord’s desires and the servant’s desires will be one and the same. Therefore any desire you continue to have (if you are under the control of the Spirit, which all born anew people must be –Rom. 8:9), then you can trust that the Lord has given you that desire. So go forward –following the Lord– in confidence, patience, and trust, for this is precisely what will bring about His marvelous purposes for you.

Don’t even focus on whether or not you should determine to remain single or not. Just pursue the Lord first, strive for perfect obedience to Him, seek His Kingdom and glory, seek wisdom and holiness in His Word, and petition the Lord to bring about whatever His purposes are for you. Then be patient –very patient, always patient– and be gratefully content no matter your situation. And keep serving Him joyfully.

The Lord will definitely bring about good for you –blessings of all kinds. And they will be way better than the kind you could have wrought by your own human efforts or pursuits. Listen to Him in the Word, obey His nudging, let Him be the One who makes the decisions for you.

If you do this, you will not only have an exciting life and a spirit of peace (even amid any storm), but you will also produce much fruit for the Gardener (John 15:1-5), enabling Him to say on That Day, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:21) I know you know that that’s the real goal.

May the Lord bless you.

with love,

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